Exclusive! Doctor of P’Park squirrel victim recounts patient’s bizarre assault

Beware of squirrel: The city is urging any human or pet that may have been bitten by a potentially rabid squirrel in Prospect Park to get a vaccinated in the wake of a July 18–20 biting spree in which five people were attacked.
Associated Press / Patti Blake

A doctor who treated a victim of the nutty Prospect Park squirrel that bit five people last week described his patient’s assault in an exclusive interview with The Brooklyn Paper.

The victim — an Israeli immigrant in his 60s who lives in Midwood — was exercising in Brooklyn’s Backyard on July 19 when the rodent suddenly attacked, gripping his leg with its paws as it sunk its teeth into him, according to the physician.

“The squirrel was acting weird, jumped on his leg, and wouldn’t let go,” said Dr. Jacob Gerlitz of Quality First Urgent Care at 6010 Bay Parkway.

The man wrenched the crazed critter from his limb and hurled it away, but, instead of scurrying off, the creature stared him down in an inter-species standoff.

“It was biting him, so he grabs it and throws it, but then the squirrel just stood there staring him down — it wouldn’t even run away,” Gerlitz said.

The doctor sent his patient to Mount Sinai for a rabies vaccine, but not before taking a good look at the bite, which he said was not that impressive.

“It wasn’t that crazy,” Gerlitz said.

And while he was attacked by what could be the first rabid squirrel found in New York since state officials started tracking the disease in animals in 1992, the man took his assault in stride, according to Gerlitz.

“He was very nonplussed by it,” the doctor said.

Other victims of the animal’s three-day biting spree included a 7-year-old girl and an East Flatbush man who claimed the squirrel gnawed his finger when he tried to feed it, according to a New York Daily News report.

Park officials have yet to find the furry culprit dead or alive, but said that if it did have rabies, it likely has met its maker by now.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

More from Around New York